Flan

Who likes custard!

I love love love this custard recipe. It’s really simple to follow and quick to make! Are those two things the best? I mean, don’t we all love an easy step-to-step recipe that will bring joy to our lives???

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Flan is a type of custard with caramel sauce running down its edges. It requires simple ingredients and some easy steps. That being said, my favorite Flan has cream cheese in it!

In my culture, we call this custard Flan Napolitano. It’s pretty much just a step up to a regular Flan. And the step is really short… I mean, all you need to do is add one ingredient to the original recipe. Really simple right?

Flan

Ingredients

14 oz   Condensed Milk can

12 oz   Evaporated Milk can

4 oz   Cream Cheese

1 teaspoon   Vanilla Extract

4   Large Eggs

3/4 cup   Granulated Sugar

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 5-10 minutes. Brush down crystals on the side of the pan with a metal spoon. Quickly pour into an ungreased 2-qt. round baking or souffle dish, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. In a blender, mix eggs, cream cheese, vanilla extract, evaporated milk, and condensed milk until well combined. Pour over caramelized sugar.
  3. The next step is a process called a bain-marie. Place the dish in a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into a larger pan to a depth of about 1 inch. Bake until the center is just set (mixture will jiggle a bit), 50-60 minutes.
  4. Remove dish from a larger pan to a wire rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. To unmold, run a knife around the edges and invert onto a large rimmed serving platter. Cut yourself a slice and enjoy!

Apple Pie

Now, who doesn’t love Apple Pie!

Apple pie is the perfect dessert to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner. But honestly, who wouldn’t want a slice of this delicious dessert any time of the year?

Making an Apple Pie from scratch can be intimidating but it’s actually quite easy. Here’s a video from Tasty.co to help you visualize the process:

My favorite way of eating Apple Pie is À La Mode, which is just a fancy way to say with a side of ice cream.  The melting cool ice cream with the warm sweet pie is just so incredibly delicious!

The way I like to assemble my pie is relatively easy. I just use the good old fashion full cover top with a couple of slits in the center. That way you can spend more time eating it!

However, if you’d like to make a lattice, I’ve included instructions for that as well.

For the apples, I like to use a mixture of different kinds. My favorites are Granny Smith, Macouns, Fuji, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, and Northern Spy. A mix of any two or three of these apples works wonderfully. My mix usually includes Honey Crisp, Macouns, and Granny Smith.

Apple Pie

Yield: 1 round pie; serves 8-10
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients

For the Apple Filling

For the Pie Crust

Remaining Ingredients

 

Instructions

  1. Make the filling.  Place the peeled, sliced apples in a large bowl.
  2. Add the vanilla, ¼ cup flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to the bowl with the apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the apples. Stir to combine. Set aside while you make the pie crust.
  1. Make the pie crust.  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. (Alternatively, the pie crust dough can be made by hand in a large bowl using a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut in the butter.)
  2. Pulse to combine the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse about 10 times, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Add the ice-cold water and pulse just until the dough comes together.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and shape each half into a round disk. Wrap one of the disks in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the second disk out to a 12-inch round and transfer it to a deep-dish pie dish. (This is easily done by wrapping the dough round around your rolling pin to help move it.)
  1. Assemble the pie.  By this time, the apples should have released some of their juices. Stir the apple mixture to make sure everything is well combined and then pour the apples and their juices into the pie crust.
  2. Roll out the second pie dough disk to a 12-inch round. You can place the dough round on top of the pie as is, or you can make a lattice-top pie crust. If putting the full dough round on top of the pie, cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.
  3. To make a lattice top pie crust (see step-by-step photos in the post above): Cut the second dough round into ½-inch strips. Place the longest strip down the center of the pie. Reserving every other dough strip to go in the other direction on the pie, lay strips across the pie with just a little bit of space between. Then weave in strips going the opposite direction on the pie.
  4. Brush the pie crust with milk (to help with browning and to help the coarse sugar stick) and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
  5. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes before baking.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  7. Bake the pie at 400° for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Continue baking the pie for 40-50 minutes more, until the filling is bubbly. Check on the pie partway through the baking time and tent it with foil as needed to prevent the crust from over-browning.
  8. Let the pie cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the filling to thicken.
  9. Store pie at room temperature for up to one day, or in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. Pie can also be frozen, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.

Carrot Cake

One of my most favorite cakes is Carrot Cake!

Growing up, my mom made a carrot cake occasionally throughout the years of my childhood. She would love to bake it as a loaf and feed us thick slices of it. She never used frosting…

BUT I LOVE FROSTING!!!

Now that I am all grown-up, I’ve adapted a version of what that cake was with one of my favorite frostings ever!

The combination of the two recipes makes a delicious cake. I love the soft nutty textured sponge and the tangy velvety frosting spread evenly amongst the layers. It’s just heavenly!

Although the recipe calls for nutmeg, I tend to omit it unless making it in the fall. You can also add ground cloves and ground ginger if you’d like, to make it a fall-flavored cake!
I like to shred my own carrots. The wetness of the recently shredded carrots will give your carrot extra moistness. Making your own apple sauce would be a nice addition. All you need to do is combine 4 peeled, cored, and chopped apples with a 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of granulated or cane sugar in a saucepan. In addition, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon for extra flavor. Cover your pan and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until apples are soft. Let it stand aside to cool down and then smash with a potato masher or fork.
By far, this is one of my favorite cakes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Carrot Cake

Yield: one 9″ round three-layer cake; serves 10-12

Total Time: 60 minutes + additional cooling time

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

2 cups  Chopped Pecans or Walnuts, optional

1   1/2 cups  Packed Light or Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup  Granulated Sugar

1 cup  Vegetable Oil

4 large  Eggs

3/4 cup  Unsweetened Applesauce

1 teaspoon  Vanilla Extract

2   1/2 cups  All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons  Baking Powder

1 teaspoon  Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon  Salt

1   1/2 teaspoons  Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon  Ground Nutmeg, optional

2 cups  Grated Carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces  Full-fat Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup  Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

4   1/2 cups  Confectioners’ Sugar

1 Tablespoon  Milk

1   1/2 teaspoons  Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread the chopped pecans on the sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Make the sponge. Then, preheat the oven up to 350°F. Spray oil or butter three 9 inch cake pans, line with parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together until well combined and no brown sugar lumps remain.
  5. In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together until well combined.
  6. Fold in the carrots and one cup of the toasted pecans or walnuts.
  7. Pour/spoon the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 20-24 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. If not, continue to bake until cooked through. Do not over-bake. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  8. Make the frosting. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream/milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frosting should be soft, but not runny.
  9. Assemble the cake. First, using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place one cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with the second layer, more frosting, and then top with the third layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with the remaining toasted pecans or walnuts.

Cake stores nicely in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Cake

This is my first ever post on my brand new website! I’m excited to explore the wonders of blogging about bake goods. There is so much to say about the amazing smells you get from your kitchen every time you crave a homemade cake, or cupcake, or COOKIES!!!

Image obtained from the internet

So let’s get started with the real good stuff.

Chocolate Cake needs no introduction…

I absolutely love a sweet, decadent slice of my best version of a good Chocolate cake. I’m not going to try to convince you that my recipe is the best in the business, but it sure comes close!

My friends and family all give it two thumbs up, and I hope you get to try it too!

We begin our recipe with good quality ingredients. I like to use King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, a good cocoa powder brand like Cacao Barry Extra Brute, and a quality espresso powder, use King Arthur’s Espresso Powder. Also, try to use fresh ingredients. The recipe always works best when everything is fresh!

The cake yields a thin batter, which is what makes the moistest cake. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake

Yield: One 9″ round double-layer cake; serves 12-16

Total Time: 50 minutes + additional cooling time

Ingredients

2 cups  All-Purpose Flour  

1  1/2 cups  Granulated Sugar

3/4 cup  Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 teaspoons  Baking Powder

1  1/2 teaspoon  Baking Soda

1 teaspoon  Salt

1 teaspoon  Espresso Powder

1 cup  Buttermilk

1/2 cup  Vegetable Oil

2 large  Eggs

2 teaspoons  Vanilla Extract

1 cup  Boiling Water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk or mix until well combined.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
  4. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Then, let it cool completely before frosting.

 

Frosting Choices:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting